The trade happened.
The rumors were there for months, even years. No one really knew if you were truly happy in New York, but it was obvious that you had done what you can. It was time to move on.
What you leave behind isn’t a bombsite, in fact it’s far from it. You left a legacy in New York, and some mighty big shoes to fill.
The jersey, the headband, that sweet stroke, the swish.
I watched your game for hour after hour. I bought a basketball, and I headed over to my local court. English courts aren’t like American ones, it’s much smaller, and harder to find. But I went anyway. I shot like you. I bought your jersey, I bought posters of you. You made me a Knicks fan.
I followed the Knicks for a year, kept an eye on your stat line night after night. Then, a miracle happened. You were coming to London.
I begged my parents to take me, and we managed to get tickets. It was my 16th birthday present.
The Knicks were on a 15 game losing streak. You were playing the Bucks at the O2 Arena. You would have thought I was pessimistic about the Knicks’ chances, but I was anything but. My Dad was probably sick of you by the time we got there, I talked about you the entire way.
I got there extra early to see you warm up. The team ran out, and you came out last, and I was starstruck. I watched your every shot in the warm ups. You had 22 points I believe in the loss. But it was amazing see you play in person, to see my idol right in front of my eyes. It was something special.
Since then, I have followed the team loyally, and have been proud to wear your name on the back of my jersey.
You dropped 62 points on the Charlotte Hornets, the highest scoring game by a Knick. That record will be all yours for a very, very long time.
You had arguably one of the most clutch games in NBA history against the Bulls in 2012. Even to this day, it gives me goosebumps.
The amount of game winners you have had is inspiring. The amount of times I’ve woken up to a Knicks win thanks to a Carmelo shot with a few seconds remaining, it’s amazing. You are so clutch, man.
Every other player in the league love you and respect you. Rio 2016 was such a great example of that. You were the veteran leader on the team and made big shots. You are the first American basketball player to win three Olympic Gold Medals. In that regard, you stand above the rest. USA Melo was jaw-dropping, and you were an integral part of USA basketball’s success.
You defined what it means to be a New York Knick. You were professional through times of controversy in the front office. You played with heart and passion. You electrified Madison Square Garden.
You have helped shape the future of New York. You nurtured KP, taught Tim Hardaway Jr as a rookie so now he can come back and kick ass. All the young guys looked up to you and learned so much.
I can’t wait to see your number retired by New York. You truly are a Knicks legend.
Knicks fans around the world will always be thankful to you. You inspired a 14 year old boy from England to pick up a basketball, and I never looked back.
Thank you, for everything. I hope you find peace with your new team, and in your adventure. I will still wear your jersey with pride, because for me it’s bigger than basketball.